I started out planning to talk about my top ten favorite Atari 2600 games, but soon realized that ten was too few. Instead I have selected twenty great games and here are the first ten…
Asteroids by Atari- One Atari’s arcade classics. The 2600 version has solid, colored, asteroids instead of vector graphics, but it plays just like its big brother. See my previous blog for more info on this great game.
Battlezone by Atari- The arcade version had vector graphics, but I really like the graphics in the 2600 version. Battlezone is fun to play, but gets pretty hard pretty quickly. Follow the advice in the game manual and keep your tank moving!
Berzerk by Atari- The original shoot ‘em up game long before Halo or any of the others! Your mission in Berzerk is to shoot as many Robots as you can and avoid Evil Otto. The action is fast and intense and I can remember playing Berzerk over and over again!
Chopper Command by Activision- Activision’s answer to Defender. Chopper Command is a classic side scroller where you must protect your helicopter and truck convoys from attacking helicopters and fighter jets. Chopper command has outstanding graphics and is a blast to play. You get an unlimited supply of ammunition, so blast away!
Demon Attack by Imagic- The only Imagic game in my top twenty. Demon Attack is a relatively simple game, but a blast to play. The graphics are good and there are some really cool effects when the ‘birds’ split apart in higher rounds. A two player version is included which makes it even more fun.
Defender II (Stargate) by Atari-It was nice to see Atari make a new effort after their first, poorly received version. Originally released as Stargate, the name was changed to Defender II. This one is much closer to the arcade version and is a blast to play. A second joystick (and maybe a second person) is needed to take advantage of all of the games features.
Frogger by Parker Brothers-A classic 2600 game and the only Parker Brothers game to make my list. The concept with Frogger is pretty simple, but it is harder than it looks. If you had a 2600 back in the 70’s or 80’s you probably had Frogger!
Galaxian by Atari-I am not sure what’s up with the yellow borders, but, other than that, this is an awesome game. Given the limitations of the 2600, this game is really pretty amazing! The alien movements are well done and you will definitely enjoy playing Galaxian!
H.E.R.O by Activision-One of Activision’s later releases for the 2600 and often overlooked by Atari fans. Programmed by John Van Ryzin, some consider it one of the best games ever developed for the 2600. You must guide R. Hero through mineshafts to reach and rescue trapped miners. It’s not easy as you have to fight off snakes, bats, spiders, moths and blast your way through walls. Good luck!
Ice Hockey by Activision-The best sports game for the 2600 period! I can remember playing Ice Hockey for hours and hours. Alan Miller did a great job of capturing the essence of hockey, given the limitations of the 2600. Ice Hockey is awesome to play against the computer and even more fun when playing with one of your friends!
The second ten great 2600 games will be in my next post!